Awards Season

In addition to Oscar season, it’s also American Library Association Youth Media Award season! Am I the only one who remembers being gleeful when the Newberry Medal was announced each year? I didn’t care about the Caldecott (didn’t like picture books then, don’t like graphic novels now), but the Newberry was a highlight of my year. Would it be something I’d already read? Would it be a history book that wanted me to learn something (Lincoln: A Photobiography) or a story so fun I still reread it as an adult (The Westing Game)? The 2012 ALA winners were announced this week, although since I am actually not 10 years old anymore some of their other awards capture me more than the Newberry.

The Printz award is given to YA books, and we all know how I feel about YA. This year’s winner was Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. The Honor Books were:

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, art by Maira Kalman
The Returning by Christine Hinwood
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I haven’t read any of those–in fact, the only one I’ve heard of is The Scorpio Races. My experience with Maggie Stiefvater (fun fact: her last name means stepfather in German) is through an entertaining but slightly cheesy trilogy of werewolf books that starts with Shiver, but the reviews I’ve been seeing of The Scorpio Races are in another league so I’ll have to check that one out. Another fun fact about the Honor Books: Daniel Handler is also Lemony Snicket of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, so he’s doing well on several fronts.

Another award category that caught my eye is the Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences. For 2012 the list is:

Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin
In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston
The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

I have to say that I’m not entirely sure I understand this award. Looking at the award policies, it doesn’t appear that the authors have to think that teenagers will like their books, the awards committee simply gets to decide which are the 10 best books each year that have a special appeal to teen readers. But as former teenager who read lots of adult books, and as a current adult who reads lots of teen books, this award seems like it was made to give me a reading list. I think that Ready Player One might be up next.

2 comments on “Awards Season

  1. Anna says:

    Oh, man, I’ve been scrambling to try to watch all of the Oscar Best Picture nominees (only 3 out of 9 so far), but now I’d rather be reading my way through the ALA nominees (anything to get out of seeing “War Horse”)!

    Also, I’d totally forgotten that a friend had recommended Ready Player One to me several months ago, so I may need to track that down, too.

  2. Liz says:

    Ready Player One was fantastic! I read it in a very short period of time because I just couldn’t put it down. And I know I missed about a zillion references, even while I got a zillion. Just a great read.

    8 of 9 Best Picture nominees – just have to catch Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The performance categories are the ones I’ll be working on over the next few weeks…

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